WEST ORANGE, NJ — A resolution passed by the West Orange Township Council on Tuesday authorizes the execution of a professional services agreement with Richard D. Trenk, Esq. to continue to serve as the attorney for the township for all of 2017 at a rate of $42,500.

Council President Joe Krakoviak asked for there to be an open bid process to hire the township attorney, but all the other council members expressed their strong support for Trenk and voted for the resolution to rehire him.

During the meeting, the council also passed several ordinances to address parking issues in the downtown area. Ronald Fahey, retired chief of police for West Orange, urged the council to relieve the tight parking on Wilson Terrace and the surrounding area and the council passed the ordinance.

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Sandra Boches, a teacher at the Edison Middle School, thanked the council for relieving the parking situation at the school.

“Teachers often have to scramble to find parking around the school,” she said. “Having an ordinance in place to open up more parking spaces for school personnel will be very helpful to us.”

After Office of Public Information for Essex County director Anthony Puglisi, told the council about the major increase in Turtle Back Zoo attendance this past year, Councilman Jerry Guarino asked him to share attendance data with the council.

“Having the demographic data of the increasing number of people attending the zoo will help us market the upper Northfield Avenue area to attract new stores,” he said.

In other news, Councilwoman Michele Casalino asked Business Administrator John Sayers to look into why the West Orange part of Highway 280 is filled with graffiti and garbage.

“The graffiti in our part of 280 is disgusting, and the garbage going onto 280 from downtown is horrifying,” she said.

Sayers said that he calls the Sanitation Department every month to clear up the garbage. He promised to look into both the garbage and graffiti issue, and do his best to rectify the situation.

Councilman Victor Cirilo said the council should take the lead in strongly lobbying New Jersey Transit to make the Highland Avenue station a place where people can get a direct train to New York City.

“This will help raise the property values of this area,” he said. “We should meet with New Jersey Transit officials to push this forward.”

Krakoviak said that in the past, New Jersey Transit wanted to see more economic activity in this area first before putting a direct New York train at this station.

“It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg situation,” he said.

Click HERE to read more about this meeting, where West Orange Recreation Director Bill Kehoe presented plans to renovate Lafayette and Degnan Parks pending the approval of a Green Acres Grant. 

The next council meeting will be on Feb. 7.